1 day after Trans Mountain approval, Bill Morneau stops in Calgary

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau is in Calgary, one day after the Trudeau government approved the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion for the second time. 

Morneau will speak to a largely business crowd in downtown Calgary for an Economic Club of Canada breakfast.

  • Watch live here at 9:15 a.m MT as Bill Morneau speaks to Calgary crowd

He’s not the only cabinet minister in Alberta on Wednesday. His colleague, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, will visit the Trans Mountain terminal in Edmonton. 

The appearances in oil-rich Alberta come a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave approval to build the stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would carry diluted bitumen from Alberta to an export terminal near Vancouver.

In a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Trudeau attempted to strike a balance between finding new markets for Canadian oil and his party’s own branding as protectors of the environment.

Climate change

Speaking on CBC’s Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday, Morneau said the government has to do more than one thing at a time in order to address climate change and build a strong economy. 

“We know, and certainly people in Alberta know when they see the fires that are going on here, and people in Eastern Canada know when they see the floods, we know that there’s an enormous challenge going on with climate emergencies, we need to recognize that,” he said. 

“That is integral to what we’re tying to achieve. But we can’t do that if we don’t have the resource to make the investments in a cleaner future.”

Morneau has estimated the federal government will receive up to $500 million per year over the first 10 years of the pipeline being in operation. The money would be invested into developing green technologies. 


That money would flow regardless of the owner of the pipeline, said Morneau.

He said the federal government, which purchased the pipeline for $4.5 billion last year, does not want to continue owning it indefinitely.  

“The reason we own this pipeline is because we saw political impasse between two provinces,” he said. 

“Moving that out into the private sector, trying to find a way so there’s meaningful economic engagement of Indigenous peoples in that next step, that’s … the right approach to continuing to be effective in the sector.”

Conservative reaction 

The decision to approve the project a second time came nine months after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed Ottawa’s initial approval, citing incomplete consultations with Indigenous communities and a faulty environmental review.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was among those applauding the federal government’s decision on Tuesday, while expressing skepticism the project will actually be completed.

“This second approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline isn’t a victory to celebrate. It’s just another step in a process that has frankly taken too long,” Kenney said.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also scoffed at the idea the pipeline would ever be built, and cast doubts on Trudeau’s sincerity about supporting the energy industry.

“He hasn’t done anything,” Scheer said. “Show me the pipeline. Where is it?”

Progressive reaction

On the other end of the political spectrum, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh were unequivocal in their opposition to Trudeau’s decision.

The project has also caused major friction between British Columbia and Alberta. Trudeau called both Kenney and B.C. Premier John Horgan to inform them of the decision Tuesday.

That friction isn’t going away anytime soon. 

The B.C. government plans to appeal a ruling that slapped down its attempt at blocking the project through provincial environmental legislation 

Horgan said Tuesday he reiterated his concerns about the potential of a marine spill.

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